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Can climate marches bring tangible change?

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Can climate marches bring tangible change?

Erika Zepeda

5.3.17

“We Resist! We Build! We Rise!” was probably the most celebrated chant of the People’s Climate March. From Jefferson Street, participants strutted down ten blocks, circled around the White House and finished at the Washington Monument where a huge concert broke out. Tens of thousands of people were in attendance as the temperature reached a high of 91 degrees on the National Mall. The #ClimateMarch was a positive way to show public discontent on Trump’s 100th day in office.

But what was the point of the march? I went around asking people of different ages, genders and ethnicities why they were marching and what tangible changes they hoped to achieve. The consensus was clear: they marched to show that climate change is real and that we need legislation to prevent further damage to our ecology.

One protester from Wisconsin, Alex Kendrick, said that since Trump and Scott Pruitt are in office, we as American people “have a responsibility now to fix this and be proactive about it.” He hopes the march will encourage greater support for the movement and invigorate current protesters so as to gain media attention and more public endorsement.

The #ClimateMarch was a positive way to show public discontent on Trump’s 100th day in office.

Ella Chu, a D.C. native, also thinks that Pruitt and Trump are disastrous for the environment.

“[The EPA] removed the webpage for Climate Change because it conflicted with Pruitt’s policy,” Chu said.

After checking the EPA website, I found that Chu was right. The page is currently being updated to reflect the EPA’s new priorities. In other words, instead of facing the fact that scientific research shows climate change is real, they decided to remove the page altogether.


These protesters are right. The government isn’t doing enough to combat climate change, and with Scott Pruitt serving as head of the EPA, it’s completely reasonable that thousands of people from across the country came to voice their discontent despite the scorching sun and humid weather.

As one sign read, “Climate Change won’t wait Four Years.” Sea levels and carbon emission are still on the rise, and the current administration seems to have complete disregard for our Earth’s future. On social media, Trump completely ignored the event. While in Pennsylvania on Saturday, he didn’t tweet anything in response to the People’s Climate March. The EPA also neglected to tweet or post about the march on social media. And those who aren't commenting seem to be the ones protestors are most angry with.

The consensus was clear: they marched to show that climate change is real and that we need legislation to prevent further damage to our ecology.

The climate march, however, is not enough. To really bring tangible change, we need to use #ClimateMarch as a spring board onto other actions. So what can we do?

  • Sign petitions calling for a fracking ban. Activists in Maryland recently succeeded in banning fracking, but there are 47 states where fracking is still legal. Go to this website to sign a petition to ban fracking in Virginia.
  • Flood your governor's Twitter if he or she is a climate change denier. ThinkProgress made an entire webpage dedicated to tracking governors' voting records on issues like climate change.
  • Go to more protests! By drawing large crowds and getting media coverage, we can generate more public support. Legislators won't budge unless their constituents push them in the right direction, which is why we can't stop marching.